On a cool Saturday in early February more than 40 volunteers — mostly members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 46 — picked up rollers and brushes to paint 11,200 square feet of interior walls and ceilings at the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) in North York, Ont.
“I never thought there were going to be so many people. I was looking for 20,” said organizer Ivan Dawns, business agent with the IUPAT District Council 46. “We even had members from Sarnia.”
The work, which is part of Black History Month celebrations, included painting two halls, a kitchen and two bathrooms.
“They (JCA staff) were shocked that this was happening, never mind that it was done in a day,” said Dawns.
He explained the idea of painting the building’s interior was brought about through a discussion he had with a JCA executive while building a school in Jamaica last year.
“I choose the JCA because it doesn’t just serve the Jamaican community, but it serves the wider community. If there’s a disaster anywhere, it is where the community goes to raise funds,” he added.
The 30 or so gallons of paint, rollers, brushes, trays and other materials were donated by Dulux Paints in Woodbridge. United Rentals supplied two scissorlifts at a 60 per cent discount to help get the job done in a day.
“I would say they (JCA) saved about $18,000,” said Dawns, adding he is arranging to have the centre’s baseboards replaced by volunteer carpenters before the end of winter.